Martial Law and military pride reigned supreme among the myriad provinces and cultures of the coalition. Their lands were largest of the three human factions, but they often found themselves outgunned by the psionic Voskii champions and the sophisticated Exarch robotic technology. To get their hands on the Ulhar intelligence, John sought out the camp of General Edwin Shel, a popular and aggressive leader of coalition forces.
Before they arrived, they passed through land frequented by a ruthless band of renegades. They came across a convoy of the outlaws as they pursued a young coalition boy, Rasmus Briar, alone on his motorcycle. His driving talents nearly got him out of the mess, but ultimately Garrit, John and Haura intervened, dispersing the renegades violently. As so often happens to those rescued by John Carmichael, Rasmus found himself pressed into service. He would help John’s team infiltrated the General’s camp by posing as would-be recruits.
Navigating the entrance interview, bypassing security and ultimately slipping away from the recruiting center, John and Haura reached the central hub of Edwin Shel’s stronghold. There, he put his studies of Ichero’s technology-magic fusion to work, wreaking chaos and confusion in the control room while he stole the information. Together, they fled—and they took the hapless Rasmus with them, unwilling co-conspirator, bound up with their fate.
With Manda‘s help they cracked the encrypted information, and learned that an Ulhar war council was planned, hosted by Malef—Ulhar Suzerain of the frontier territory. John wrapped himself in magic, transforming his skin into that of a dragon, and posed as the Suzerain’s son, Daudhir, to pass through security and gain access to the council. He learned that several powerful Ulhar planned a united offensive that would cripple all the human factions, allowing the Ulhar to march over human territory. This alliance consisted of Malef, the local suzerain; Jimbidakimbatuul, a young and brash but influential suzerain, whose access to nuclear weaponry made him a powerful ruler; Trundrachanderion, emissary of the zealous and diabolical Throden Kothar; and finally, Ichero, the same techmage John thought he’d slain, as a representative of the Vignar. This council of dragons had the combined resources and access to destabilize the Exarchate, sabotage the Voskii and crush the Coalition with their combined might. John burst into the scene disguised as Daudhir and laid his own plans amongst theirs.
The false Dragon claimed that he knew where Susvorel, John’s alter-ego, could be found. All the members of the council spoke darkly of this rogue power, who’d crushed Dartak and thrown their plans into jeopardy. “Daudhir” claimed that he could reason with the mage, and harness his power to work with their plans. Most of the council looked suspiciously at his claims but ultimately Malef vouched for him, and they begrudgingly accepted his help.
To make good on his web of deception, John had to get in contact with the REAL Daudhir. They hurried away to the wastelands, where Daudhir’s raiders were known to operate, and blasted through rival renegades on a collision course with the young dragon. John revealed his true identity to Daudhir, a levelheaded and ambitious outsider who’d yet to cast his lot with the Ulhar. He agreed to help the Dragon overthrow Jimbidakimbatuul, whose insolent advances on his mother and hunger for her territory infuriated the son. John laid out a plan to Daudhir that would end with the failure of the Ulhar coalition, but at everyone’s expense except Malef and his own.
Having forged the first links of an actual alliance with the blue dragon overlords, John left—once again, in a hurry—to thwart the first stage of the Council’s plan—the corruption of the Exarch Patriarch.